in 2017


Key drivers

Wage pressure in high-skill occupations (1.1)

The largest contributor to the United States’ falling score this year the falling wage spread between high- and lower-skill occupations.

Labour market participation (3.9)

The labour market participation rate in the United States has grown only modestly. This may make it more difficult for firms to expand their workforce.

Talent mismatch (8.4)

The rate of long-term unemployment has fallen in the United States. This indicates that the pressure of skills mismatches has eased.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


View from the Ground

While the US economy grew at 2.2% in the first quarter of 2018, projections call for that growth to accelerate throughout the year, and economists project the annual growth rate to be around 3%. This is a good sign overall and bodes well for the employment outlook. We are seeing robust job creation exceeding predictions, and a decreasing unemployment rate to around 4% at the start of 2018, back to levels last seen before the global financial crisis. Construction, technology and finance sectors remain some of the highest-growth areas. However, this will mean a tighter talent market in the short- to medium-term as population growth is unlikely to keep pace with job creation. There is some uncertainty around trade and tariff s, which could impact the country’s import/export markets. Current trade negotiations will affect these markets, but whether it is positive or negative remains to be seen.

David Brown, CEO, Hays USA

COUNTRY profile

Economic growth in the United States has steadily accelerated, reaching nearly 3% by early 2018.

This has spurred robust job creation, driving down the headline unemployment rate to around 4% at the start of 2018, back to levels last seen before the global financial crisis.

The number of advertised job openings has increased to its highest level since the series began in 2000. The labour market is expected to tighten further in the short- to medium-term. Although the population in the United States is projected to grow at an annual rate of 0.7% over the next 10 years, far exceeding Europe’s 0.2%, robust employment increases are forecast to bring the unemployment rate down further in the years ahead.

Key skills in demand

  • Software Developers
  • Cyber Security Professionals
  • Construction Estimators
  • Construction Superintendents
  • Big Data Professionals (Data Analysts/Scientists)